Team Vasant members speak with activists in Korea Village, central Trinidad on Tuesday. Standing, from left, are Dr Stephen Ramroop, Ramona Ramdial and Vasant Bharath

Shastri Boodan

Mismanagement was one of the major reasons the UNC lost the last general election That was the claim made by Dr Stephen Ramroop on Tuesday evening when he and members of Vasant Bharat slate for the UNC’s internal elections visited Korea Village in central Trinidad.

Although he was tight-lipped about the post he was contesting in the UNC elections, the former head of the ODPM accused the current party executive of being more interested in giving themselves seats to fight rather than steering the party towards victory. He said institutional weakness needs to be stripped from the party.

Ramroop said he was blanked by the party even though he was asked to screen for the San Fernando West seat. He warned that the UNC will remain in opposition if no changes are made

“There are certain issues clearly if we had rectified it, if we had done the right thing, we might have been more successful,” he said, commenting on the party’s performance in the general elections.

“This was an opportunity and we missed it because of simple things. One of the things, as I said, is the screening. I was one of the 300-400 persons asked by the political leader to come forward and put yourself forward for nominations. We were asked to come out and we asked to come out and change and be more diverse and people within Natex (the national executive of the UNC) . . . a lot of them were chosen and that was very interesting because we could not understand why you would want to come and tell people to come and join and in the screening and only the persons within the party were chosen.”

Ramroop said poor planning was another misstep made by the UNC. He said the PNM ran a professional campaign while the UNC failed to respond to issues raised on the PNM platform.

“You did not have a strategic think tank that was counteracting issues that were coming up, it wasn’t strategic,” he said.

Ramroop said the advertising campaign was one of the reasons the UNC lost elections. The campaign team failed to screen the advertisements and look at how it would impact different segments of the population. He said there was no team to monitor 24/7 and the UNC also failed to manage its social media elements. Members of the executive were busy campaigning for seats and failed to monitor.

Ramona Ramdial, the former Couva North MP, who is contesting the post of deputy political leader, said support has been growing for Team Vasant. However, she acknowledged that the fight would be tough.

She said UNC members are very much aware that the party cannot win another general election under Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Bharath said his team plans to go into all the communities to explain the need for change. He said support for his team is growing.

“The levels of victimization displayed by the party over the last ten years is so great that many of them have felt they cannot come out openly but will support in the background,” he said.

Bharat said his team will be contesting all the positions on the national executive on December 6.